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The Cartier Roadster is a modern day tribute to the 1950s “golden age of the sports car.” As a contemporary Cartier, it’s also a timeless statement of upscale style. This 43.5mm tall x 37m wide 18-karat yellow gold Cartier Roadster features a full 18-karat bracelet and clasp to match. This all-gold flagship model ranks among the rarest variants of Cartier’s most ambitious modern watch.
When it debuted in the early 2000s, the Cartier Roadster raised eyebrows for its aggressive blend of sports watch versatility, automotive inspiration, and luxury finish. Not quite a tonneau and not quite a rectangle, the case reads as a true “roadster” viewed from overhead with the top down.
While every Cartier Roadster dial bears elements of automotive imagery, the “Porsche” dial takes this treatment to the logical limit. The stylized Roman numerals pay homage to Cartier’s history, but the supporting details recall the dashboard clocks of vintage European sports cars; the concentric circular hour track, inboard minute hashes, and needle-like baton hands are the very image of a 1950s Mercedes Benz, FACEL Vega, or Rolls Royce dashboard clock.
More than a nostalgia trip, the Cartier’s look is charming, functional, and utterly unique among modern luxury watches.
A discreet date window with dial-matched silver disc replaces the numeral at three o’clock, but it’s the magnifying lens that captivates. Like its Cartier stablemates the Ballon Bleu, the Cle, and the Pasha, the Cartier Roadster employs a distinctive crown assembly.
But the Roadster takes the unprecedented measure of integrating the crown, the crown guard, the case flank, the bezel, and the date magnifier into a single sinuous form. It reads like the “bullet” taillights of an early C1 Corvette and elevates the Roadster’s visuals to the next level.
And like every great “roadster,” the Cartier Roadster is a “convertible”; each example features a brilliant quick-release lug system for 15-second strap changes. Most power-operated auto roofs can’t drop that quickly! A supple and beautifully-finished 18-karat bracelet with double deployant clasp complements the graceful lines of the Cartier Roadster.
Cartier offers a wide range of accessory bracelets and straps to provide instant do-it-yourself makeovers to your Roadster using the pull-tab strap release system.
While the Roadster is a Cartier par excellence, any watch named in honor of sports car requires a measure of “sports watch” fortitude, and the Roadster is no slouch; this dual-purpose machine goes from zero to 100 meter (330ft) of water with ease. That’s far beyond the scope of most tux-ready timepieces.
The Cartier Roadster employs a thin and fine automatic Swiss ETA 2892-A2 caliber with a 42-hour power reserve and bidirectional winding for smooth action on the wrist. Its design includes a hacking (stop seconds) mechanism that permits precise synchronization to a reference clock or watch.
This precise movement has a track record of durability and reliability, and its thin construction (3.6mm) permits the Roadster’s unique cambered (curved) lengthwise profile.
See this outstanding 18-karat yellow gold Cartier Roadster with “Las Vegas Roulette” dial in high-resolution images on www.watchuwant.com.
Video and content by Tim Mosso.